Weekend Listen: A Timely Episode

Helen Bryant was one of the performers on this week’s show, recorded at the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta, GA. Recently, she reflected on the powerful experience she had connected with this show and shared a recording of one her favorite works – the fifth movement of Robert Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Op.12, “In der Nacht.”

Watch Helen’s video below, and read on for reflections on this week’s episode from Announcer Joanne Robinson.

Reflections on this week’s episode by Announcer Joanne Robinson

This week we’re broadcasting a special episode of From the Top that seems particularly meaningful these days. Recorded at the Breman Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, it explores Jewish contributions to classical music and how all of our connections to music can help us survive and thrive, even during the most challenging of times.

There are so many beautiful moments in this show, both musically and in the stories told. The wonderful pianist Lara Downes guest hosts, and she was a total joy to work with, connecting deeply with each of the young performers and creating an atmosphere of openness, fun, and warmth.

Among the young artists featured, 14-year-old cellist Sarah Kave and Lara collaborated on a gorgeous movement of Ernest Bloch’s “From Jewish Life” and then spoke about their shared multi-cultural backgrounds. Another spectacular performer, 18-year-old clarinetist Javier Morales, teamed up with Lara to perform Leonard Bernstein’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano and then thanked his parents, immigrants from a small village in Mexico, for their sacrifices that helped him pursue his musical dreams.

One of my favorite moments, though, had to be the finale – the Bernstein favorite “Somewhere” from West Side Story performed by Lara and three of the show’s young artists. We posted some rehearsal footage earlier this week, but in the event you missed it, you can check it out here. You can also check out the full list of this show’s performers here. I hope you’ll tune in this weekend, and be sure to subscribe to From the Top’s podcast so you never miss an episode. Happy listening!

See Lara Downes Live!

Don’t miss Lara’s special Facebook live event happening this Sunday, April 12 at 4:00 PM on the Violin Channel. She will be performing music from her new album Some of These Days, which features interpretations of traditional freedom songs and Spirituals that remind us of music’s power to unite and uplift us. She’ll also be joined by special guest, From the Top cellist and alum Ifetayo Ali-Landing. I hope I’ll see you there!

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